23 May 2014

Fire guts historic Paradise Homestead

10:03 pm on 23 May 2014

An architect who helped restore an historical guesthouse partially destroyed by fire near Queenstown says she feels like she has lost a family member.

The main building of the Paradise Homestead, about 20km from Glenorchy, was engulfed in flames on Friday morning after being hit by lightning.

The Category 1 listed Paradise was designed and built in 1883 by New Zealand's first government architect, William Mason, who later became the first mayor of Dunedin.

Jackie Gillies worked as the architect during the property's restoration in 2010, which cost about $950,000. She told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Friday that it was a pleasure to work on.

"Heritage projects are thin on the ground and when you have a success story it's wonderful, and it was one of our real successes for heritage and for New Zealand, and now it's not there - very sad."

Ms Gillies said the homestead was one of the earliest examples of New Zealand tourism.

Local resident John Crump hoped that some of the building could be saved.

"The front half - the old part of the house - is completely gutted, virtually non-existent. A wee bit of the framing is still holding up a bit of roofing iron but otherwise its basically burnt to the ground, and three chimney's standing there."

The Fire Service said four fire appliances attended the scene. There had been no reports of injuries and there was is no indication that anybody had been trapped inside.

The remains of Paradise Homestead.

The remains of Paradise Homestead. Photo: JOHN CRUMP